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Hills full of color
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There used to be an outfit that tried to tell you what season you are. It had a lot to do with what color clothes are best suited to you.


I was tested one time for a news story. They put all kinds of swatches of cloth up next to me and told me what season I was. Quite frankly, I don’t remember.

In my heart, I must be a fall. This is the greatest season of the year and I love it more than any other.


From the days when you wake up to that crisp, cool morning air to the days when you have to put on your sweater to go outside, I love the fall of every year.


I’m not particularly crazy about getting up leaves, but that’s the price of admission. I thank the good Lord for the guy who invented high-powered blowers and lawn mowers with bags.


This weekend, we played hooky from church. The good thing is the church service is broadcast on a radio station that reaches up into mountains and I listened as we drove north.


It’s a tad early for leaf watching, but I keep hearing that the colors will be short lived. We decided we would continue north until we saw a hint of color. We drove all the way into the Smoky Mountains National Park, above Cherokee N.C., until we saw the true splendor of fall.


Driving up the mountain road that leads to the North Carolina-Tennessee border, the Oconaluftee River provided an escort as it followed the highway.


There are places where the trees provide such a canopy that it’s almost like a tunnel. Looking upward, there was an assortment of colors ranging from the fading green to vivid gold and red.


In the higher elevations, the colors became more vivid. It wasn’t the peak, but it certainly satisfied my yearning to see the annual show. It’s one of those moments when you realize that this didn’t happen by accident.


Ironically, at the state line, the blue sky suddenly turned cloudy and the beautiful mountains became enshrouded in a fog. At first, the puffy clouds danced around the peaks, but as we continued, they were wrapped in a thick blanket.


We went down the mountain to Gatlinburg, Tenn. and on to Pigeon Forge. That beautiful mountain vista, topped by Clingman’s Dome, is surrounded on either side by two of the junkiest places on earth.


If you want a henna tattoo, some cheap T-shirts, or to play a little goofy golf, this is your place. It is not mine.


Visiting Gatlinburg is a reminder of why the famous Scopes trial was held in Tennessee.


There were several people who are just a generation away from relatives who didn’t walk upright. If you were in search of the missing link, you might find it in Gatlinburg.


Our route through Cherokee took us by the big casino. The parking lot and two enclosed parking decks appeared full. Nothing says mountain fun like gambling on a little electronic Black Jack. As they say, to each his own.


My place will always be nestled in the hills surrounded by an explosion of color.


Harris Blackwood is the author of “When Old Mowers Die.” His e-mail address is